Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Kogi state Commissioner for Agriculture Dr. Zacchaeous Atteh said yesterday that 61 per cent of the N750 million loan for micro farmers was being disbursed to rural women farmers. Atteh disclosed this in his opening address at a one-day Step-Down Training for Women on Gender Mainstreaming organized by the ministry and supported by the Actionaid Nigeria in Lokoja. The Commissioner who underscored the importance of gender mainstreaming in addressing gender issues said the concept occupied a strategic and crucial position in the all-round development of the society.
He said that it was in view of this that the ministry ensured that rural women farmers were being accorded priority in the disbursement of the micro loan of N100, 000 each to support smallholder women farmers in rural areas. Atteh identified “sexual division of labour and access to and control over resources and benefits” as key factors in understanding gender issues. “Consequent upon these issues, it is necessary to give crucial attention to gender mainstreaming in both governance and the entire society”, he said. The commissioner noted that women, like their male counterparts were created or born with potentials, talents, skills and gifts and given the necessary opportunities, encouragement and support, they would impact family and national development.
In his remarks the ActionAid Programmes Manager in charge of the Training, Mr. Victor Adejoh, urged that more women be allowed to climb up the ladder into administrative and leadership positions. Adejoh noted that out of the nine Directors in the Agriculture Ministry, only one was a female as he urged that government incentives or assistance to rural farmers especially women, be allowed to trickle down and translate into food on the table. Mr Yusuf Obaje, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry expressed gratitude to the Action- Aid for enlightening women and agreeing to train women in the ministry. Obaje said that through concerted efforts of the NGOs women were no longer agitating for implementation of 35 per cent Affirmative Action but were now asking for 50 per cent representation.The Director in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Yinka Razaq, urged women to support themselves and be apostles of gender mainstreaming wherever they go.